Eagles Drop Two Tough Matches in Boise

Eastern goes up against two nationally ranked opponents in 2012 debut

The Eastern Washington University men's tennis team opened its 2012 campaign this weekend in Boise, Idaho, with two matches against two nationally-ranked opponents. The Eagles fell to No. 62 St. Mary's, 6-1, on Saturday (Jan. 21), before suffering the same fate against No. 49 Boise State on Sunday (Jan. 22).

In Saturday's duel with St. Mary's, EWU captured one win in doubles and one in singles. Sophomores James Russell and Mario Navarro outlasted St. Mary's Sherif Hamdy and Seif El Sherbini in a tiebreaker at No. 2 doubles, 9-8 (9-7).

Eastern's No. 1 pair of Ilija Cuic and Kyle Koetje also battled to a tiebreaker, but lost it to Maxime Olivan and Gavin Leon, 9-8 (7-5).

Cuic was able to gain some measure of revenge in singles, as he went up against Olivan at No. 1, and beat him in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.

Both Koetje and freshman Ben Anderson got off to a hot start in their singles matches at No. 4 and 6, respectively, winning their opening sets by the same score of 6-3. But both Eagles faltered in the subsequent two sets, as Koetje lost to Leon, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, and Anderson dropped a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 decision to Samuel Bloore.

Highlighting Sunday's match against host Boise State was Russell's performance at No. 3 singles. The sophomore from Kirkland, Wash., knocked off BSU's Scott Sears in three competitive sets, 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-4).

In the top singles spot, Cuic was pitted against Boise State's James Meredith, who ranks 31st in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men's National rankings. Cuic managed to take a couple sets off Meredith, but ended up losing the match, 6-1, 6-3.

Koetje, Simikic and Anderson also lost in straight sets against the Broncos at No. 4, 5 and 6, respectively.

The Eagles will be back in action next weekend against a couple of local opponents. Eastern plays Whitman on Saturday (Jan. 28) in Cheney, Wash., before facing Whitworth on Sunday (Jan. 29) in Spokane.


No. 62 Saint Mary's vs. Eastern Washington
Boise, Idaho – Boas Indoor Tennis Center – Jan. 21, 2012

St. Mary's 6, Eastern Washington 1

1. Maxime Olivan/Gavin Leon (SMU) def. Ilija Cuic/Kyle Koetje (EWU), 9-8 (7-5)
2. James Russell/Mario Navarro (EWU) def. Sherif Hamdy/Seif El Sherbini (SMU), 9-8 (9-7)
3. Joakim Norstrom/Steven Dawson-Roberts (SMU) def. Ben Anderson/Stefan Simikic (EWU), 8-4
1. Ilija Cuic (EWU) def. Maxime Olivan (SMU), 6-4, 6-2
2. Sherif Hamdy (SMU) def. Mario Navarro (EWU), 6-4, 6-2
3. Saad Benkirane (SMU) def. James Russell (EWU), 6-4, 6-2
4. Gavin Leon (SMU) def. Kyle Koetje (EWU), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
5. Seif El Sherbini (SMU) def. Stefan Simikic (EWU), 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2)
6. Samuel Bloore (SMU) def. Ben Anderson (EWU), 3-6, 6-3, 6-0

Eastern Washington at No. 49 Boise State
Boise, Idaho – Boas Indoor Tennis Center – Jan. 22, 2012

Boise State 6, Eastern Washington 1

1. Meredith/Sereke (BSU) def. Cuic/Koetje (EWU), 8-6
2. Sears/Bettles (BSU) def. Navarro/Russell (EWU), 8-4
3. Reid/Sheldon (BSU) def. Simikic/Anderson (EWU), 8-6
1. James Meredith (BSU) def. Ilija Cuic (EWU), 6-1, 6-3
2. Andrew Bettles (BSU) def. Mario Navarro (EWU), 6-0, ret.
3. James Russell (EWU) def. Scott Sears (BSU), 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-4)
4. Garrett Patton (BSU) def. Kyle Koetje (EWU), 6-1, 6-1
5. Nathan Sereke (BSU) def. Stefan Simikic (EWU), 6-4, 6-2
6. Erik Sheldon (BSU) def. Ben Anderson (EWU), 6-1, 6-1
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